A wrinkle to this season's daily fantasy landscape is the inclusion of contests on both FanDuel and DraftKings that require far less study than the classic style of DFS where you have to assemble a lineup while staying within the bounds of a salary cap.
On FanDuel, the contests are called NFL Minis because you pick just five players: a quarterback, two running backs and two wide receivers (there's no real cap constraint). There appears to be a free entry fee contest available called the Sun(day) NFL Golden 5 if you want to try it. Of course, you have to be registered on FanDuel to enter.
On DraftKings, the les-work alternative is called NFL Pick'em where you select from eight tiers of players. At least this week, a tier might include as few as three players or as many as eight. There appears to be contests available for those who want to try it, but again, you have to be a registered player.
Getting back to the classic contests, here are this week's value picks.
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: Rivers has been red hot, and he plays against Cleveland at home -- although the important thing about where the game is played in this case is the weather. The forecast for Los Angeles is 70s, no wind, partly cloudy. Great for passing. The only concern is that the Chargers will be leading by so much by the end of the third quarter that the Charger passing game is shut down for the final 15 minutes.
Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos: This is mainly based on Siemian's salary cap figure ($4,800 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel). Plus, in the eight games in which Siemian has had substantial playing time, he hit 20 fantasy points or better three times (DraftKings) and projected to get to 20 had he played the full game last week against Oakland. And then there's this week's opponent, Miami, which is a second-tier defensive team.
Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears: Howard is one of the few throwback running backs in the NFL at the moment. In a game in which the Bears are competitive, he should get 20-25 carries and all the goal-line attempts. Last week when the Philadelphia Eagles effortlessly beat the Bears and Chicago was in catch-up mode, Howard got just seven rushes (for 6 yards), but this week against San Francisco should be a different story.
Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers: This is an if-then pick. If Ty Montgomery's rib injury keeps him out against Tampa Bay, then Williams is a great bargain. So unless Montgomery's status is clear by Saturday, you'll have watch the inactive list about an hour before the 1 p.m. kickoff.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers: We're back to that scintillating matchup between the 1-10 49ers and the 3-8 Bears. As previously mentioned, this should be a competitive game in which the running backs get a reasonable number of touches. Hyde is an attractive pick in a full point-per-reception contest (DraftKings, FantasyDraft) because he works in both the run and pass games. For instance, last week he had seven catches (on 13 targets) for 21 yards. As far as impact on the game itself, there was none -- but that's nine fantasy points without rushing yardage or touchdowns. With that kind of floor, Hyde is a solid cash game pick.
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: Adams figures to be a highly owned player this week. He gets to play against one of the weakest pass defense in the league, Tampa Bay, and with Brett Hundley at quarterback, he has emerged as the No. 1 Packers receiver.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings: When a wide receiver averages 10-12 targets as Thielen does and also has big-play potential, you exclude him from your lineup at your own risk.
Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns: I'm not big on picking Cleveland players, but Coleman is getting the lion's share of the targets, he does have talent and, of course, the Browns are usually playing from behind. His salary is low enough that after you pick a premium running back and a top wide receiver or two you can fit Coleman under your cap. The return of Josh Gordon after being out of the league for about two seasons (suspensions) could cut into Coleman targets.
Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders: Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree is suspended for his role in a fight against Denver last week. The other top Oakland receiver, Amari Cooper, is highly questionable to play after suffering a concussion. That leaves Cook as quarterback Derek Carr's main target against the Giants, one of the most vulnerable teams in the league against tight ends.
Greg Zuerlein, L.A. Rams: This is a function of opportunity and conditions. The high-scoring Rams play the Cardinals in kicker-friendly University of Phoenix Stadium.
Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers defense, led by Joey Bosa, has been ferocious lately and the Browns are not the team to stop them.